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Get that yeast out of my diaper!

Last year, the Real Diaper Association released our evidence-based recommendations for laundering cloth diapers.  For our many volunteers and constituents supporting friends and family in using cloth diapers, the one-page Cloth Diaper Laundering Guide made it very easy.  (In fact, the guide has even been condensed into a smaller magnet image that cloth diapers users can put directly on their machines or that you can use as a graphic on your website to link to the guide!)

While the Laundry Science that we published to support our basic 5-step approach has helped many people customize their routine to meet their needs, one missing piece was a set of specific recommendations for laundering cloth diapers in the presence of a yeast infection.  Now, with the assistance of a wonderful group of microbiologists and mycologists at several universities and biotechnology firms, we are embarking on on an evidence-based experimental approach to this problem.

EXPERIMENTAL OUTLINE

1. "Spike" some used cloth diapers with c. albicans in a marked area of the diaper.

2. Launder them separately in the varying tests - regular RDA process, with chlorine bleach, and with other laundry additives: - Tea Tree Oil - Grapefruit Seed Extract - Oxy-Clean

(All diapers will come from the same person, be laundered in the same machine, at the same temperature and water quality, and with the same detergent to minimize confounding factors.)

3. Test the diapers for remaining c. albicans in the marked

MATERIAL NEEDS

A subset of the equipment needed to conduct these tests is being lent to us by the expert volunteers guiding the tests.  In the first round of testing alone, however, there is still a significant portion of the materials that we'll need to purchase, including petri dishes, chromagar plates, alcohol, etc.  We will be raising the funds to cover these costs through our website.

FUTURE STUDIES

Follow up on above treatments: It may be advantageous to try differing amounts of any of the above additives, depending on results from the first study.

Follow up on above test structure: We may want to confirm results by testing for yeast levels in a natural diaper environment, i.e. deposited in feces by an infected baby.  In this situation, we would also like to test diaper covers to see if yeast travels through the diaper into the PUL layer.

Treatment changes by fiber: It would be useful to test artificial fibers such as microfleece and microfiber, both commonly used in cloth diapering, to see how the additive efficacy changes between hydrophilic and hydrophobic fibers.  If the PUL layer is affected in natural diapering situations, tests should also be done on that fabric to determine appropriate treatment levels (extreme heat options might not be desirable).

Treatment changes by washing machine type: It would be useful to determine proper additive amounts for different washing machines and water levels.  Can also investigate cycles on other machines (steam and sanitize) and water temp settings.

WE NEED YOUR HELP! If you've experienced a yeast infection while cloth diapering, you know how difficult it is to sift through all the conflicting information about laundry additives to find the wash routine that works to support your baby's health. In our 2012 Great Cloth Diaper Survey of over 6500 current cloth diapering parents, more than 31% of respondents reported difficulty using cloth diapers in the presence of a yeast infection. As the organization supporting the cloth diaper movement, we want to smooth the way for parents to use cloth diapers in any situation.  Please help us remove this obstacle to cloth diapering.

Heather McNamara

Executive Director, Real Diaper Association

 


Behind the scenes: Great Cloth Diaper Change Albuquerque

As planning for the 2013 Great Cloth Diaper Change (GCDC) kicks into high gear, we’re interviewing hosts about their events, their challenges and their successes. This week we focus on Melissa Frank, owner of Lovely Pockets Diapers and third time host of the GCDC.

How has the task of hosting a GCDC event changed for you over the years? The first year was very intimidating, I had no experience hosting an event and it took a lot of time. I used a local park for the first venue, we had 23 participants and it worked out just fine. When it was clear we weren’t going to make the required 25 participants for Guinness, we began asking people at the playground if they would come change their babies with us. We convinced a few to participate and let them use some extra diapers we had. Although we still didn’t make our goal, we did connect participants and spread the word about cloth diapers. With each year, the event grows. Many of our participants have learned about us through word of mouth. Even without media exposure, word of mouth advertising has been really beneficial. This year we are expecting between 75 and 100 participants. We’ve added vendors and are turning it into a community baby expo event.

With the growth of your event, you’ve decided to co-host this year. How did you find your co-host? My co-host is Dallas Vigil who owns Little Love Buns, a local detergent manufacturer. My co-host is actually my husband’s cousin! When we learned we were in the same industry, we began sharing cloth diaper information and collaborating.

What advice would you give for new GCDC co-hosts? The number one thing is communication. When you start planning your event, sit down and talk with your co-host about what you each want the event to look like. Share what you are most passionate about and ask them specifically what they want to do. Then you can delegate tasks together. I find the hardest part is delegation. I can be very controlling because I like to know everything is being done perfectly. It’s important to remember that most adults are very capable, and your co-host is probably just as passionate as you are about cloth diapers.

The growth of your event is impressive. How did you find vendors for this year? I like to shop on Etsy and Hyena cart. One day I noticed I could search locally, so I did a search for cloth diapers in the area. I jotted down those companies and asked if they wanted to participate. We will have ten vendor tables with baby massage, yoga, a cloth information station, and local WAHM’s retail businesses.

Is there any other advice you have for new GCDC hosts? Utilize all the resources provided and don’t be afraid to ask for help from other hosts. Everyone is friendly, don’t be intimidated, there are always people willing to help.

- Michelle Dominguez

Event Coordinator, Real Diaper Association

For more information on the Great Cloth Diaper Change, visit our website at http://greatclothdiaperchange.com


2013 Great Cloth Diaper Change Hosts

UPDATE 3/12/13: The map is now available and should be used to find local events: 

With the Great Cloth Diaper Change map not yet available, we wanted to provide people with at least a list of the hosts registered to hold local events on 4/20/13. This list is sorted by the home country, state, and city of the host, which might be slightly different than the city of their event. However, this will provide at least an approximation until hosts can put their information onto the overall event map. Please go to the website listed and inquire there for more information about your local event. Thank you so much for participating!! It's only with YOUR baby's bottom that we can break the world record!!

Gratefully, Heather McNamara

Executive Director, Real Diaper Association

2013 Great Cloth Diaper Change Organizing Committee

 


2013 Great Cloth Diaper Change Planning Under Way!

Belgium, 2012

Cloth diaper enthusiasts around the world have begun planning for Great Cloth Diaper Change events in their communities on April 20th. In fact we have 118 events already registered in 9 countries! (We're on track to break the World Record we set in 2012 with 8,251 babies changed into cloth diapers at 189 locations in 11 countries around the world!)

Successful planners start early, and the media kit available to hosts will help you successfully publicize your event and get the attention you want to influence cloth diapering practices locally.  Please review this 2013InformationforProspectiveHosts for information about registering an event in your community.

This year, we're also implementing a new, improved map to enable people around the world to find their nearest local event. The Great Cloth Diaper Change website will be down temporarily, but rest assured, the event is still going on! Once you're registered as a host, you will receive support from other hosts and the Organizing Committee via a private Facebook group.

Thank you!

2013 Great Cloth Diaper Change Organizing Committee

P.S. Follow the excitement at The Great Cloth Diaper Change Facebook page!


Increasing Cloth Diaper Use in the Low Country

A year ago, the Real Diaper Association accredited Stacy Mojica as a Circle Leader and she formed the Low Country Real Diaper Circle in and near Hinesville and Savannah, GA. From the beginning, Stacy has involved many volunteers in making the Circle a reality. Their first project was the Great Cloth Diaper Change, for which they created a huge event (eventually contributing 62 people to the world record!). The Circle has grown from there, with many, many activities to increase the use of reusable cloth diapers in their area. On their first anniversary as a Circle, the group held a Trivia Night and Awards Dinner. This is Stacy's speech from that night.

As many of you know, our Circle did not get off to a very smooth start. But from those rocky beginnings, we have grown into something truly great. Our Circle no longer resembles what it was in the beginning. And that is the beauty of the metamorphosis our hard work has achieved.

I believe it is important to take moments to reflect upon all that we have accomplished in the last year. I am so proud to report that from nothing, we began teaching 101 classes. We taught Cloth Diapering 101 at four locations in four different cities in the Low Country. At one point Brandie and Angela were teaching at the Pregnancy Care Center of Richmond Hill, Amy and Luann were teaching at farmers natural foods in Hinesville, Nati and Brandie were teaching at Ranicki Chiropractic in Pooler, and Nati and Shari were teaching at Savannah Baby Co.

But we did much more than simply teach about cloth diapers. We built a community. Suddenly from believing that no one else in my town had ever even heard of cloth diapers, I found dozens of friends just as passionate about cloth as I was. We are now a 330 person group of enthusiastic cloth diaperers, at least 300 of whom are local. I love going to our Facebook group and seeing how active it is! Cute babies in fluff, questions from new cloth users, laundry problems, and the fantastic help that those people receive.

People asked for something like our for sale or trade events. So we begin hosting them. They have been a huge success! People asked for help with co-oping, so we began teaching Co-op 101 classes. Others asked for help with wool, so Jenna and Lori began teaching Wool 101 classes. They also have been a great success.

And now we find ourselves a year later from when we started. Gearing up for the Great Cloth Diaper Change 2013. More and more activists have come out of the woodwork to volunteer and participate in the organization of this historic project. I just love how GCDC can inspire people to participate at a more active level in our Circle. I am really looking forward to working with all of our new volunteers. All of the volunteers who have been invaluable in 2012 got their start at volunteering for the Great Cloth Diaper Change 2012.

I am very pleased to announce here to the general public for the first time that the Great Cloth Diaper Change 2013 will be held at the American Legion Post 135 ballroom in savannah near Forsyth Park. This will nix last years big criticism that we weren't close enough to Earth Day Savannah. Now parents who attend Earth Day will be able to walk down the street to the American Legion and participate in the change, or at least walk around and visit our vendors. We are pitching it as a Green Baby Expo and expect at least as many families as last year which will be around 75, perhaps more.

And even more exciting news for our Low Country Real Diaper Circle sponsored table at Earth Day: we will be borrowing 2290 disposable diapers from Operation Homefront to construct a display so that Earth Day attendees will visually see how many diapers a baby goes through in just one year of their life. Juxtaposed next to this will be a small pile of reusable diapers with a sign explaining that they only cost $200, including water electric and detergent! Then a big neon sign directing them down the street to GCDC. This display will be set at Earth Day Savannah, Earth Day Fort Stewart, and Earth Day Hinesville. We could not have done this without the amazing networking and support we have built up with our local Operation Homefront chapter.

In other Circle news, we have added to our repertoire not only continued Cloth Diaper, Wool and Co-op 101 classes, but now Twitter 101 and Cloth Diaper sewing parties as well. And I am most excited to announce our consideration of separate Hinesville and Savannah support group meetings. In the past I was very afraid to separate our group until we had built the cohesion that it now boasts. Now I am not afraid to make this split. We will still meet in Richmond Hill for activist meetings and big events like this.

Now you know a little of what we have achieved in the past, what we are working on currently, and where we see our Circle heading in the future. So now I would like to take a moment to express my appreciation for some of our most invaluable volunteers.

The first volunteer I would like to thank has done so much for our club it will not even be possible for me to recount all of it to you in a single paragraph. We would be here all night! She is a cloth diapering 101 teacher, and has taught our public classes as well as many private ones. She was also one of the founding members of the Laundry Squad and has helped many mothers troubleshoot their laundry routines at home. Probably most notably she has been one of our key managers in the Cloth for Every Bum cloth diaper lending program. Although this program is separate from the Low Country Real Diaper Circle, I cannot neglect to mention her volunteer work for this project. She has single-handedly taken care of all of our collection boxes at Carter's, the Sentient Bean, and the birth center. She even put one at Dr. Ramos' office. She raised $325 for Cloth for Everybum at the last Facebook auction in November. I think you all know who I'm talking about. Congratulations to our Most Valuable Volunteer of 2012. Please accept this certificate of our appreciation for all that you have done, Natiorka Lynch.

The next volunteer who we are so grateful to have as part of our Circle, has given more in the way of financial security to our Circle than I could ever have hoped for from a fundraiser! We may thank her for the gift certificate prizes and designer cupcakes at tonight's event. As well as an upcoming advertising opportunity for our Circle, details to be announced. I am so happy to give this next certificate of appreciation to our Most Generous Donor, Marie Penix.

The next all-star advocate I would like to thank will soon be teaching Coop 101 classes with Nati. She is one of our newer volunteers but nonetheless very active and invaluable to our Circle. She has been getting us fantastic coop deals for the Cloth for Everybum program. She is also a cloth diaper 101 teacher in Savannah, at our public classes as well as giving many one-on-one classes to her friends and neighbors. I am pleased to present this certificate of appreciation to our Coop Queen, Shari Stonehouse.

Our next volunteer has been with us throughout the entire 2012 year. Beginning Her cloth diapering journey at the great cloth diaper change 2012, I am so grateful, and inspired, to have this volunteer in our Circle. She has helped me table at several info booths. And more recently has orchestrated two critical fundraisers that have brought a lot of money into our Circle's PayPal account! Please join me in thanking our Fundraiser of the Year, Dawnann Netherton.

I have one more volunteer to thank tonight. This woman wanted to work with us even at our rocky beginning. She began her journey to become an accredited cloth diaper leader through the RDA. She donated so much of her time and energy despite having a newborn baby and busy 2-year-old. She runs activist meetings, teaches 101 classes in Hinesville, and has helped tremendously to keep our Facebook group active. Her efforts behind the scenes I feel sometimes go unnoticed. But she is like the gears that make everything tick. Honestly I don't know how we could possibly have accomplished as much as we have this year without Our Most Committed Co-leader, Amy Bloss-Rodgers.

The Low Country Real Diaper Circle leaders are generous with sharing tips from their successes and insights following their struggles in support of other Real Diaper Circle Leaders.  If you are interested in starting a Real Diaper Circle in your community, please read more here.


Cloth Diaper Survey Prizes

Crocheted cotton veggie bags
To thank you for your participation in the Great Cloth Diaper Survey, Real Diaper Association board members have made a few simple reusable items as prizes for you. At the heart of the motivation of those who volunteer for Real Diaper Association is an understanding that we reduce our environmental impact by choosing reusables, whether reusable diapers or other household products. It's easy to wash a load of laundry, and it's just as easy to toss towels and wash cloths in with your load of laundry. DIY is a common thread for a lot of RDA members. Many cloth diaper users sew, knit, crochet, build, and make their own simple, reusable stuff. If we can do it, so can you!

Winners Will Receive...

Top 2 Non-business Referrers

  • 1 Set of Face Cloths
  • 1 Set of Wash Cloths

Top 5 Business Referrers

  • General business results from survey plus a customized (anonymous) selection of data.

10 Random Entries

  • Drawn for 1 Set of DIY Reusable Gifts below

All winners will be announced next week, the first week of January 2013. If you didn't take the survey yet, you still have time to enter before we close the 2012 survey once and for all on December 31st.

Enter now!

You Could Win These Great Prizes
Organic cotton dinner napkins

Dinner Napkins

Sewn, cotton

Made by Marie DiCocco, RDA board member since 2005

Your beautiful family dinner table needs a beautifully hemmed set of dinner napkins. These napkins are made from one of the earliest prints from Harmony Arts, the light blue Whispering Grass. Set of 4 napkins.

Soft cotton face cloths

Face Cloths

Knit, cotton

Made by Angela Torres, RDA board member since 2012

When washing faces and baby bottoms, you need a super soft cloth like these. Adorable leaf-shaped cloths as well as square cloths, all big enough to cover your hand. Bright, bold colors. Four sets of 2 washcloths, one square and one leaf.

Crocheted cotton face scrubbies

Face Scrubber

Crochet, cotton

Made by Angela Imes, RDA Treasurer

These cotton face scrubber give you mild abrasion to clean delicate skin. White, green, and brown. Set of 2 scrubbies.

Snap-together kitchen towels

Kitchen Towels

Sewn, cotton

Made by Lori Taylor, RDA Founder

Replacing paper towels? These snap-together kitchen towels will fit a paper towel roll. Several different weights so you can choose which you need for your particular clean-up job. The prints and solids are all Harmony Arts organic cotton (Stumps & Stumps Speak), and the absorbent, loopy back is hemp/cotton French terry. Light blue, brown, and natural. Set of 5 towels.

T-shirt shopping bags

T-shirt Shopping Bags

Sewn, upcycled

Made by Heather Bradley, RDA Leader Liaison

What is even better than making new material into some useful, reusable thing? Upcycling old stuff past its usefulness into new stuff that becomes useful again. A few seams in old T-shirts and you have carry bags. These clever bags fold up inside their own front pockets for tidy storage. Three sets of 2 bags.

Crocheted cotton veggie carry bags

Veggie Bags

Crochet, cotton

Made by Angela Imes, RDA Treasurer

When you are buying vegetables and fruits, but you don't want to gather up more throwaway plastic bags, what do you put your food in? Small mesh bags are a perfect size for holding half a dozen oranges or a big head of cabbage. White, green, and brown. Set of 2 bags.

Knit cotton wash cloths

Wash Cloths

Knit, cotton

Made by Lori Taylor, RDA Founder

You know what really has the absorbent power to clean up that mess? No, not a super duper paper towel but a wash cloth. Rinse, dry, reuse. Easy! Black & white variegated cotton. Rough texture makes these plain, simple cloths great for tough clean-up jobs. Black & white. Set of 2 cloths.

You can still take the Great Cloth Diaper Survey and enter to win these DIY Reusable prizes until midnight December 31st .

 


Help, momma! How do I...???

Carol and Amy sewing diapers in San Diego

Carol and Amy sewing diapers in San Diego

Perhaps you are part of the 44% of Great Cloth Diaper Survey respondents who were diapered in cloth laundered at home.  Maybe your mother is now supporting you in using cloth diapers on your children.  Here in San Diego, several local grandmas are even sewing cloth diapers for their grandchildren.  (Even my mom, who never sewed diapers for my children, is now converting prefolds to fitteds for my coming niece!).

But maybe you're part of the majority of survey respondents whose parents have no experience with cloth diapers. Where do you go for information and support?

Even if your parents used cloth diapers, they probably have no experience with the wide variety of styles and fabrics used today.  How do you learn about these new diapers and learn how to incorporate them into your life?

The Real Diaper Association trains volunteers to start and lead local Real Diaper Circles, which are groups of parents within a community who support one another in using cloth diapers.  Those leader volunteers also communicate with one another to get difficult questions answered for their Circle members.  This is a POWERFUL support network but it doesn't reach everyone.  One of the goals of the Great Cloth Diaper Survey is to better understand what other methods of support are successful for new cloth diapering parents and to learn how to strengthen and spread those methods to more families.

Have you heard someone say, "I tried cloth diapers, but they didn't work for me"? I have.  Sometimes it sounds like an excuse.  Sometimes I genuinely wish I had been there to support them, because I know they wanted to succeed.  Those are the families I want to reach, and I'm hoping your input on the survey will help direct our efforts to do so.  If you haven't yet completed the survey, please do so now!

Heather McNamara

Executive Director, Real Diaper Association


Great Cloth Diaper Survey Questions

Wondering about how completing the Great Cloth Diaper Survey can help the Real Diaper Association improve its efforts to help more families find and succeed with reusable cloth diapers? Here are some examples of how the demographic information we collect will help.

Photo rights donated to Real Diaper Association in 2009 photo contest

We ask you how many children you've cloth diapered and how long you've been doing it. Why? It's possible that experienced cloth diaperers do things differently than new cloth diaperers. If so, can we share that knowledge to help people succeed earlier with cloth diapers?

We asked you when you started cloth diapering each child and how you learned about cloth diapering. We want to reach more families to teach them about cloth diapers. This information will help us better direct our outreach methods to reach new families to teach them about cloth diapers.

We asked you how old your current baby (or babies) in cloth diapers is (are). Why? It's possible that diapering practices change based on the age of the baby. If so, can we be more specific with the recommendations our Circle Leaders make to families in their communities?

We asked you about your education and income levels. Why? We want to know if diapering methods change based on those variables. If so, can we improve our recommendations for different segments of the population? Also, we want to better understand the demographics of our community, both to help us recognize who we're missing with our messaging and to better hone our message for our closest constituents.

If you haven't yet responded to the Great Cloth Diaper Survey, please do so today! We are more than halfway to our goal of 10,000 respondents but need YOUR input to be complete. Please also pass the survey on to anyone you know who might use cloth diapers. You'll both be eligible for some high quality DIY prizes handcrafted as a thank you from the Real Diaper Association Board of Directors.

Thank you,

Heather McNamara

Executive Director, Real Diaper Association


Dear Great Cloth Diaper Survey, I need some help...

Thank you for asking! Having previously proven my ability to help you launder diapers and get new families started with cloth diapers, I'm glad you realized I'd also be able to help you use cloth diapers!

Poor baby's rashy leg

picture courtesy of Bridget in San Diego

It's true. Take this question, for example:

"If you baby has had diaper rash, which of these things helped?"

I am compiling a list of thousands of responses and can sort out a list of those things that helped the most people (preview: using rash cream, giving more diaper-free time, and modifying diapering changing frequency are currently the top responses). I can then share that with you (via my bosses at the Real Diaper Association) to support you (and other parents) in the future.

By answering questions about which types of daycare aren't allowing cloth diapers, I can help focus the efforts of the Real Diaper Association in conducting outreach and education with daycare providers, preventing this problem for future cloth diapering families.

Help ME help YOU!  Only 15-20 minutes and prizes are available...

Thank you,

The 2012 Great Cloth Diaper Survey


Survey helping more families get started with cloth diapers

Thousands of current cloth diaper users have responded to our 2012 Great Cloth Diaper Survey so far.  Previously, I explained how the Great Cloth Diaper Survey will help you with your laundry.  But it can do more than that!

The Great Cloth Diaper Survey can help more families learn about and get started with cloth diapers!

In the second section of the survey, we're looking into where people first learned about cloth diapers, as well as when and why they decided to use them. As an organization full of volunteers looking to help more families choose cloth diapers, this information can help us reach new parents at the right place and time.

DIY hand-knitting a wool diaper soaker

Photo courtesy of Jessica in San Diego, 2012

Knowing about cloth diapers is the first step to using them.  The second step is actually procuring them. There are several important areas we're researching here:

  • the secondary market - - what portion of cloth diapers are being bought/sold/or traded used?  Is this a useful way to save money on cloth diapers?  How can we support parents using pre-loved diapers?
  • the businesses supplying diapers (and those supporting users) - - what portion of cloth diaper sales happen online? What types of businesses are providing support for the diapers they sell?  (Perhaps RDA can help...)
  • DIY diapers - - What types of diapering products are being made at home?  Can we support parents in saving money through making some portion of their own diapering supplies?
  • the factors influencing diaper purchases - - How important is price vs. other factors such as where it was made?  Are people looking primarily for certain styles or fabrics?  How heavily are people weighting reviews or recommendations from friends?

If you are currently using cloth diapers at all (even part of the time), please take the survey now! It will only take 15-20 minutes of your time.  Then pass it on to everyone you know who might use cloth diapers!  More information about the survey, including about the prizes for participants and referrers is in this other blog post.

Heather McNamara

Executive Director, Real Diaper Association


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